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HP EliteBook 820 G1 review

Sturdy, streamlined, secure: HP packs business features into a lighter-weight, 12.6-inch laptop

HP EliteBook 820 G1 review
HP targets the rugged business end

3D Mark 11: P766
Graphics Score 696
Physics Score 2783
Combined Score 577

Cinebench 11.5:
CPU performance: 2.47
OpenGL graphics performance 13.13fps

Battery Eater
3 hours 27 minutes

The dropped hinge and metallic grey-black styling of the HP EliteBook 820 conceals a reasonably powerful 1.6GHz Haswell Core i5 4200U CPU, with 8GB of RAM. What that gives you is great business performance. The 1366x768 screen and Intel HD Graphics 4400 mean this isn't a high-powered gaming system. To be sure, rendering was visibly slow in our 3D and graphics testing, but it's fine for everyday work in productivity software (including Photoshop) and movies, with reasonable sound – and plenty of volume – coming from the soundbar behind the keyboard.

Opening the case

Business-class performance hardware

Even if you don't take advantage of the Windows 8 licence included with the system, we'd suggest upgrading to IE 11 for performance improvements. Even the Intel graphics subsystem is fast enough to speed up web pages with hardware acceleration and the HP EliteBook 820 scored a very acceptable 9.2 on Microsoft's informal PirateMarrk benchmark for HTML5 rendering.

Innards shot

The EliteBook packs a decent-life battery

HP promises up to 12 hours' battery life for the EliteBook 820 G1, but that's with the higher-capacity battery slice. The standard battery we tested came in with a reasonable four to five hours of working time with Wi-Fi on and the screen set to full brightness (we'd expect that to increase by 30-60 minutes with Windows 8). Dim the screen to get longer battery life. In our run-down test with no power saving options and the screen on full brightness, we measured three hours and 27 minutes. And while it's not a tiny USB charger, the power brick is fairly small and neat, and delivers an impressively fast charge – you can get 25% charge back in about as many minutes.